Alibaba plans to set up regional distribution hub in Malaysia, say sources
Alibaba Group Holdings Limited, often referred to as the â€ťeBay of Chinaâ€ť is set for a regional distribution hub in Malaysia, with the help of Malaysian state-linked agencies.
The leading Chinese e-commerce corporation has designated KLIA Aeropolis as the site for its regional distribution. It will be led by airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) and the 24,700 acre development is geared to generate more than RM7 billion (US$1.58 billion) worth of domestic and foreign investments.
This heralds the first investment of Alibaba in Malaysia. The company invested US$1 billion last year to control Singapore-based e-commerce platform Lazada, Southeast Asia’s largest online shopping platform. It also increased its shareholding in Singapore Post to 14.4 per cent from the 10.2 per cent acquired in 2014 and bought a 20-per cent stake in Thai e-payment service, Ascend Money.
“Many people see Malaysia as an emerging hub next to Singapore. Malaysia may not be able to take all of Singapore’s business, but it is a good choice (logistically),” one source said.
Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak are expected to announce the plans at an event in Kuala Lumpur this week, according to sources.
Ties between Malaysia and Beijing have appeared to strengthen in recent months along with investments from China. Â Najib appointed Ma as his government’s digital economy adviser during an official trip to China last November
Najib returned from the Beijing visit with 14 agreements amounting to US$34.4 billion, which included an agreement to buy four Chinese naval vessels and collaboration to build rail projects in Malaysia.
Malaysian media reported that Ma, whose Alibaba owns Chinese online shopping business Taobao, would help steer Malaysia’s e-economy development with the implementation of online payment and banking.